By Frida Kerner Furman
Examines Jewish identification within the prosperous and knowledgeable neighborhood of a liberal reform synagogue. The publication explores how one synagoue grapples with the method of id development as a social phenomenon, revealing tensions among individualism and corporatism and different opposing elements.
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Extra info for Beyond Yiddishkeit: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in a Reform Synagogue
In every way, the Platform is an expression of modernizing efforts. ) The reformers begin with a view of]udaism as an evolutionary religion, one whose merits must be measured by rational scrutiny. Universalistic convictions, as well, inform the Platform in significant ways, frequently selfconsciously contrasted with dismissed particularistic positions. For the reformers, Judaism was "no longer a nation but a religious community" (Plaut 1965,34). The assumption that had informed all of Jewish life for millenia was therefore dismissed, by changing the stress of Jewishness from national or ethnic dimensions to solely that of a religion with universalistic commitments.
The Messianic idea had Temple Shalom: Setting and Reform Context 33 such a profound hold on the Jewish imagination, however, that the reformers reinterpreted its meaning rather than dismissing it altogether. In the modern era "of universal culture of heart and intellect;' they therefore called for "the realization of Israel's great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace for all men" (Plaut 1965, 34). The move was thus made from the particularism of the Jewish restoration to the salvation of all humanity.
The Transformation ofJewish Identity 19 world. Responses to this crisis have been varied, but few would argue with Blau, who maintains that "it is one characteristic of modern Judaism in all its varieties that constancy to the ancestral faith has been more of a problem than has adaptation to the surrounding world" (1966, 27). With the destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis during World War II, questions regarding the nature ofJudaism and Jewish identity in modernity shift to America, the current home of the largest Jewish population in the world.
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